Opening the forum, Dr Gunhild Stordalen, co-founder and chair of Stordalen Foundation and Director of EAT said “I know that one day, we will have complete knowledge of the complex interactions between food, health and the environment. We will have integrated guidelines for healthy diets from sustainable food systems. We will have global and local policies – with effective incentives to ensure public adherence to these guidelines”. She declared that 2015 is a year of change and opportunity. Not only is this the year when the post-2015 agenda will be transformed into sustainable development goals and global leaders will gather in Paris for the climate conference, but also the year when many ecosystems may reach their tipping points. Stordalen also stressed the importance of challenging current business models and changing food production patterns to secure food sustainability and global health. Urging the participants to act now, she referred to her own personal experience of recovering from a serious illness, adding: “don’t fool yourselves in believing you have a lifetime”.
The Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, together with Axfoundation, WWF and Food Choice Task Force, co-organised the “Protein Puzzle” workshop gathering some 50 participants to discuss the future of protein consumption. The discussion highlighted alternative protein sources to meat, such as aquaculture, lab-produced meat, plant-based foods and more exotic sources like insects. As an example of this, a menu of alternative protein taste bites was served, such as mold (tempeh) and meal worms. WWF also introduced their recently launched Meat Guide (Köttguiden) where ‘less but better meat’ is presented.
Protein is indeed a nexus point in current debates around sustainable healthy food systems and we now know that what we produce and consume, and how we do so, has serious consequences for our health and for the environment. With a world population heading towards 9 billion, and demand rising fast, there is an urgent need to rethink the future of protein in order to keep diets within environmental limits, ensure nutritional adequacy, and tackle the looming threat of antibiotics resistance.
EAT is an international consortium of government, world leading universities and research institutions, philanthropic foundations, non-government actors and organisations, and companies, which all share the common understanding that it is essential to collectively address the issues of food, health and sustainability across the fields of academia, business, politics and civil society to ultimately be able to feed 9 billion healthy people within safe planetary boundaries. For more information: www.eatforum.org
Photo credit: EAT 2015 Johan Lygrell